December 21, 2018

Partial Government Shutdown Would Impede Science, Hurt Nation

Statement by Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (December 21, 2018)—Parts of the federal government—including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Interior Department, which are key science agencies—are in danger of shutting down over a federal funding dispute. This would be the third government shutdown in the two years since President Trump assumed office.

Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

 “President Trump’s obsession over building a wall, which he now wants Americans to pay for and studies show won’t increase U.S. security, is likely to cause a partial government shutdown. 

"Shutdowns, which waste American resources and taxpayer dollars, have grave consequences for science and research, public health, public lands and species protections.

“For example, enforcement of public health protections wane when hundreds of agency staff are sent home for untold lengths of time. Community members, especially ones near Superfund sites and other contaminated areas, won’t get their questions answered when federal offices empty out. And if a scientist misses the window of research opportunity because of a shutdown, it has a real impact on the agency’s science-based work—and taxpayer dollars.

 “Mr. Trump has had months to work this out with Congress and is shutting down the government for a project that most Americans understand is not needed or is certainly not a high priority. This is a disgraceful abdication of real leadership.”

 For more on how a government shutdown affects science, see a blog by Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.